14 October 2005

Club chairman loses weapon appeal


A west Belfast club chairman's links with IRA members was sufficient reason for not allowing him to have a firearm, Appeal Court judges have ruled.

Liam Shannon of the Irish Republican Felons' Club had a shotgun certificate, but it was revoked after he applied to have it extended to a .22 rifle.

His appeal to the secretary of state was dismissed after police said he "associates with members of the PIRA".

On Friday, the decision not to grant a review of that ruling was upheld.

Mr Shannon had originally been granted the shotgun certificate after he became a member of a clay pigeon club.

Lord Justice Nicholson said that Provisional IRA members had recently been involved in crimes including murder and robbery.

"It would be naive to suppose the chairman of the Felons' Club is unaware that a number of his associates must be actively involved in these activities.

"This is not to suggest he condones their activities. But, inevitably, he may be liable to pressures placed on him to make any firearms legitimately held by him available to them."

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